It has just been announced there will be four de-escalation zones in Syria, mainly in territories controlled by the “moderate” rebels. The guarantors of the ceasefire will be Iran, Turkey and Russia. Notice who is missing?
Who is to gain the most?
This is a massive win for Russia as Syrian troops can now concentrate their efforts in liberating the east of the country from ISIS. Why is this a win for Russia? Well it cements Putin’s influence in the region and after Gazprom (Russia’s biggest oil company) signed a contract to control of the oil in the country (estimated to produce over 400,000 barrels a day) after the Syrian army liberates the east of the country they could start extracting the oil. Russian government deficits have been growing thanks to the cheap oil and low production. Now that can change as they practically take over Syrian oil and gas.
By Syria I mean the legitimate government of the country. If they manage to drive ISIS out of the country they would have practically won the war. Over 80% of the population is under Bashar Assad rule that means that he is collecting all of the tax money. After they liberate the oil and gas rich and around the banks of the Euphrates River – where the other largest part of the population lives the rebels would be left with almost nothing. The ceasefire is set to be in place for 6 months – enough of a time to liberate most of the central and eastern parts of the country as troops will be freed up from the western fronts and with all of the aviation help of Russia it seems reasonable.
IRAN and HEZBOLLAH
Obviously every win for the Syrian government is also a win for Iran. The Islamic Republic grip will be even stronger now as many of the militias fighting in Syria are Shiite. This of course is a massive loss for Israel as they have been fighting Hezbollah for years now and it sure seems like this won’t be the last war in the Middle East. When the war ends they will go to reap the benefits of being the victor in a war, have no doubt about that.
Turkey has been supporting the rebels since day one – providing them with ammunition and sophisticated weaponry. That’s not a cheap thing to do especially now when the country is on the brink of economic collapse. So they could now reallocate these resources in their fight against the Kurds.
The Syrian people
By far the biggest winners are the Syrian people as they have suffered the consequences of war for over 6 years now. The sooner this bloody war comes to an end the better for them.
Who are the biggest losers?
Well that’s pretty easy to answer – America. The Russian MOD has already come out with an announcement that U.S. planes won’t be able to fly freely over Syria anymore. Admittedly, they have said this in the past, as well and have not followed their threats through. However, this time this is supported by Turkey – a close ally to the U.S. Iran’s growing influence in Syria is not good news neither, as they are deemed the biggest threat to the Western world by the U.S. The fact that the U.S. wasn’t even invited to the talks in Astana says it all – the U.S. influence in the Middle East is slowly but surely coming to an end.